Almanac

News - September 18, 2013

Structures rise for Woodside wedding

by Dave Boyce

The wild creatures that normally inhabit the grassy pasture and scattered trees in the 500 block of Mountain Home Road in Woodside may wonder what's going on. Two redwood boardwalks are winding their way into the property, crews have been seen hauling in construction materials and, in the distance, structural framing is rising from the ground. It's all to accommodate a wedding on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Several structures are being built, including a large dining hall, a stage for the ceremony, a sound-proof room for music, and bathrooms.

The property owner is the Donald G. Fisher Trust, according to county records. Mr. Fisher, who died in 2009, was the founder of The Gap clothing stores. A spokesperson for Fisher Development Inc., a contractor on the project, said: "The family does not wish to comment and appreciates your understanding and respecting their privacy."

Although the construction involves a slab of concrete and structural framing, because the project is temporary, it did not fall under regulations that would have required a building permit, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said. The Town Council will be looking into ways the town can have oversight in cases such as this, where the construction is temporary.

Upon learning of construction activity going on, town staff visited the site and issued a stop-work order to provide time to deliberate over how to respond, Mr. Bryant said. Staff gave its approval to continue the work, and issued a demolition permit to Fisher Development. That permit requires the property to be returned to its original condition when the ceremony is over, Mr. Bryant said.

"When someone is going to hold a wedding, you don't want to tell them that they can't hold a wedding," Mr. Bryant told the Almanac.

Members of the council agreed. The wedding came up for discussion at the council's Sept. 10 meeting.

"We want people to enjoy their property," said Councilwoman Deborah Gordon. An ordinance regulating such activities should establish a reasonable time frame for setting up and tearing down temporary structures, council members said.

"It's the preparation for the party that is the inconvenience," said Mayor Anne Kasten. "To my mind, that's a little bit of a burden on the town. ... All of us regard the land as sacrosanct around here."

The applicant has been "very cooperative," Mr. Bryant said. The entire project — from the laying of the boardwalk and concrete to restoring the site to untended grasslands — began in mid-August and is expected to span between six and seven weeks, he said.

The ceremony is expected to draw about 400 to 500 guests, Fire Marshal Denise Enea of the Woodside Fire Protection District said. Classic Party Rentals, based in Burlingame, obtained a tent permit from the fire district and there will be a couple of firefighters on hand during the wedding, Ms. Enea said. The temporary complex is governed by the same fire-code regulations that apply to permanent structures, she said.

The guests will arrive and depart by shuttle, she said.

Asked if this wedding was unusual in terms of size and complexity, Ms. Enea said that it was not. "People throw some extravagant parties here in town. We've had quite a few of them," she said. "There's actually, I think, very little impact to the site. ... It takes months of planning and it's over in one night."

Comments

Posted by J Bechert, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Nothing like having so much money that you'd opt to destroy countless redwood trees to build a temporary structure, then tear it down. There are countless beautiful wineries, parks and mansions that could have been rented. But the wickedly rich must have their way. P.s. I give the couple 3 years before they are divorced (when your life is so superficial that you'd blow a few million on a temporary structure for your wedding, the odds say your time together will be temporary too).


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2013 at 1:03 am

So are the hosts responsible for paying for the firemen/women on hand? Or, does that cost only go to the host when there's an African-American POTUS in town? Oh, wait, sorry - that's in Atherton!!

I hope the wedding is lovely & that the elements of the temporary construction can be upcycled.

Congratulations to the happy couple - I'm sure we can read about the nuptials next week.

Good luck to cyclists AND drivers in the area next weekend - they'll need it.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2013 at 1:06 am

Oh, good, there will be shuttles. It's pretty easy to figure out who the b&g are. I hope the shuttling goes safely!


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